Boston Celtics draft Larry Bird with the 6th pick of the NBA Draft
June 9, 1978
Drafted sixth overall as a junior-eligible by the Celtics, behind Mychal Thompson (Portland), Phil Ford (Kansas City), Rick Robey (Indiana), Micheal Ray Richardson (New York), and Purvis Short (Golden State). The NBA would later change the rule to require players to declare their intention to turn pro.
The Boston Celtics selected the 6'9", 220-pound Bird 6th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft, even though they were uncertain whether he would enter the NBA or remain at Indiana State to play his senior season. Bird ultimately decided to play his final college season, but the Celtics retained their exclusive right to sign him until the 1979 NBA Draft, because of the NBA's "junior eligible" rule that existed at that time (allowing a collegiate player to be drafted when the player's original "entering" class was graduating and giving them one calendar year to sign them, even if they went back to college).
In 1977–78, the Celtics selected junior Larry Bird of Indiana State with the 6th pick, knowing that Bird would elect to remain in college for his senior year. Auerbach believed that Bird's potential would make him worth the wait. Bird was drafted with the 6th overall selection in the 1978 NBA Draft and spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics.
1 Mychal Thompson (C) Bahamas Portland Trail Blazers Minnesota-Sr.
2 Phil Ford (PG) United States Kansas City Kings North Carolina-Sr.
3 Rick Robey (C/PF) United States Indiana Pacers Kentucky-Sr.
4 Micheal Ray Richardson (SG) United States New York Knicks Montana-Sr.
5 Purvis Short (SF) United States Golden State Warriors Jackson State-Sr.
6 Larry Bird* (SF/PF) United States Boston Celtics Indiana State-Jr.
7 Ron Brewer (SG) United States Portland Trail Blazers Arkansas-Sr.
8 Freeman Williams (SG) United States Boston Celtics Portland State-Sr.
9 Reggie Theus (SF/SG) United States Chicago Bulls UNLV-Jr.
10 Butch Lee (PG) Puerto Rico Atlanta Hawks Marquette-Sr.